Since I usually do a theme week at the start of a week, I’m using these first couple days this time to watch some films I had been meaning to see and missed out on. When it comes to the work of H.P. Lovecraft, I’ve never been a huge fan and generally tend to find his stuff pretty dry. The exception to this is The Colour out of Space, which is the only one of his stories to actually really grab hold of me and interest me. Plus, if there’s anyone that can do Lovecraft’s brand of insanity, it is definitely Nicholas Cage.
The setting for this adaption of the classic story is modernized but remains remarkably faithful to the original text. The places where it embellishes tend to be in making the whole thing more visually striking and terrifying. A good decision, in my opinion, given that H.P. could rely on the readers filling in the blanks but with a visual medium, you need to have some truly unsettling visuals to drive the strangeness home. The short summary is that a family, living in the woods far from most people, has a meteorite land in their yard. It gives off an unearthly glow and begins to infect everything around it including the plants, animals, and the family itself.
The slow disintegration of the surroundings as it becomes more and more alien is done wonderfully in the film. The alien infection is both terrifying and, at times, beautiful. One of the early signs of the transformation that is happening is a mantis that crawls out of the well that the family gets their water from. It is an iridescent purple with colorful wings but when the camera gets close you can see the eyes are wrong and the tendrils of corruption seeping from its mouth lend a grotesque nature to an otherwise gorgeous animal. I think this blending is what makes the visuals truly compelling and make the “Color” seem a truly alien thing.
As expected, Nicholas Cage gives a great performance. He can switch so quickly from caring to deranged to whatever he needs to be in the scene with such ease and quickness that you can’t help but be captivated by him. In addition, the performance from Madelaine Arthur as the daughter that wanted to escape even before any alien influence started is great as she acts as the general stable voice of reason throughout most of the film even as she is also being corrupted. The motivations and actions for the characters all seem reasonable and you don’t really get much of that feeling like when watching a haunted house movie where you think “Why aren’t they just leaving the house?”
Overall, I don’t think I could be happier with how this turned out. For coming from a story that I already enjoyed and doubted could be done well, I think the way they took the plot was fun and interesting to watch. Definitely recommend checking this one out.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Yeah, this movie was nuts. If you need another The Thingesque melty beast scene in your October, check out The Void. It’s not as good as this movie, but it has its great moments (and it’s free on tubi)